The sign guys are everywhere around Sarasota. You can find them singing along to their i-Pods or dancing to the beat in their heads, which may look like they’re doing the Hokey Pokey.
To one of them, dressing as a cupcake and wearing a pink, curly wig is the best first job — a job that helps reel in the ladies as they make their way back from the beach.
Another finds slipping into a pizza costume thoroughly enjoyable and loves creating laughable moments with potential customers.
These are Sarasota’s sign shakers — the ones who are sweating under the sunshine, shaking their bums and tempting you with friendly smiles and waves.
How he shakes it:
Domino’s sign shaker
How do you get people to notice your sign?
I do a few tricks — I twirl and spin the sign.
Do these tricks seem to work on the people driving by?
Yes. Whenever I go inside, customers always say, “I like this guy.”
How long have you been twirling the Domino’s sign?
For about four months.
Is there anything that you do to prepare for the job?
Lots of suntan lotion.
How often are you out here?
Usually five days a week.
What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you out here?
I have a few weird stories. Some mature language was involved ...
What do you think about the competition between Domino’s and other pizza places nearby?
A: There is no competition. Domino’s is so huge, the only competition is us.
How he shakes it: Little Caesar’s sign shaker
Is there a rivalry between yourself and other shakers?
There’s no competition. As a matter of fact, we’re friends. We stand together on the corner sometimes.
Do you think that the work you do with the sign helps business?
I think it does. They tell us that business picks up considerably when we’re out there.
How long have you been holding the sign for Little Caesar’s?
For three months, since I moved here to Sarasota.
How does this job compare to previous jobs that you have had?
I’m a retired Marine, so this is job is a lot different — it’s the lowest stress job I’ve ever had.
Have you learned any tricks of the trade?
I always have to make sure that I am facing the way that traffic is going.
I move around a lot on the corner.
How did you decide to become a sign shaker for Little Caesar’s?
I applied for the job. My friend was going to hold the sign for Domino’s and a kid saw us there. He told us to come here, and Little Caesar’s happened to be hiring.
How he shakes it:
pink, frosted cupcake
Is this your first job?
Yep, and it’s fun. We (Heavenly Cupcakes) just had our one-year anniversary. I love eating the cupcakes.
Do you enjoy sporting a fabulously plump cupcake on your body?
The first day I did it, I got three pictures taken. I’m getting paid to dance and getting a decent arm tan, too.
How do you keep yourself motivated when it’s so hot and that cupcake looks so heavy?
I listen to hip-hop. Right now I’m listening to a Lil’ Wayne song. I hope to keep going once school starts. I can take the heat.
Do you have a sign shaker idol?
I love the Fruit of the Loom guys. They’re my idols.
How he shakes it:
Papa John’s “Mr. Slice”
How does one get this type of gig?
Well, I was the Riverview High School Ram for three years. All I had to do was raise my hand — now, I’m “Mr. Slice.”
Do you use an iPod to keep yourself motivated to move and shake?
No iPod. I go with stuff in my head. I sing a song, skip, wave — shake my toppings of pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and olives.
What do you sing?
Happy-go-lucky songs like “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “You Are My Sunshine.” Yeah, I have stuff like that going on. Sometimes old rap, country. It depends on what type of mood I’m in. I make songs up as I go. I do the leg shake — stick the leg out and just shake it.